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Friday, August 6, 2010

Eating My Weigh Through New Orleans

Most of my memories of New Orleans are wrapped around the thoughts of food. Many would agree that this is a fitting testament to the culinary genius that exists within the state of Louisiana. At B & C Seafood, right off of the wonderful River Road, our lovely Cajun hostess provided me with instructions on how to eat a crawfish.
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When in Rome…I didn’t love it, but it wasn’t horrible either.
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Friday found us in New Orleans. We checked into the Hotel Provincial located in the French Quarter. The oldest part of the hotel was built in the 1700’s. It at one time belonged to the Ursuline  nuns and served as a military hospital for both American and British soldiers during the Battle for New Orleans. It is supposedly haunted, but the two nights that my cousin and I spent there were quiet. 
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I loved this framed French banner in the lobby.
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Our room was right smack dab in between two courtyards on the second floor. We had a view of the pool….
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…and a view of a lovely courtyard with a fountain.
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Linda suggested that we take a tour of restaurants. I excitedly agreed. We began our tour at Muriel’s. I decided to forego a cocktail and announced “I don’t need a good time to drink.” versus the more oft quoted “I don’t need to drink to have a good time.” It became the phrase of the evening and we hooted with laughter every time it was repeated.
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We opted to have an appetizer at Muriel’s which was built as a private home sometime between 1743 and 1762. We sat in the courtyard area and marveled at the brickwork and amazing trailing plants.
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I ordered the Turtle Soup au Sherry having never before tried it. The waiter assured me that it was made from viciously mean snapping turtles. Delicious.
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We then made a quick pass through the Court of the Two Sisters. The restaurant received its name from two Creole sisters, Emma and Bertha Camors, b 1858 and 1860. They operated a ladies shop on the site selling gowns, lace and perfumes from Paris. Becoming wives, losing fortunes and eventually widowhood never separated the sisters who died within two months of one another in 1944.
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The court was a magical fairyland.
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Next up was a one hour wait to get a seat at the bar in the Acme Oyster House. It was worth the wait. 
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We placed an order for chargrilled oysters, gumbo and red beans and rice. Our waiter hand shucked several trays of oysters right in front of us while we experienced culinary ecstasy.  (Please note that my oyster adventures took place in March. Due to the horrible BP disaster it has affected the economy of seafood in the region. Please pray for a swift and complete recovery.)
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In between all of the eating we walked the French quarter and viewed its magnificence by moonlight. I quite fancied the exterior of the Hotel Monteleone. It has been in the Monteleone family since 1886.
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I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the lobby which was featured in several films including “Double Jeopardy”.
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We eventually retired our bellies with thoughts on what the morning would bring. Really, is there anywhere but Cafe Du Monde?
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Although I don’t normally drink coffee, on this occasion a Cafe Au Lait was called for. And yes, I ate the entire plate of beignets all by myself.
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We did however take a nice, long stroll beside the Mississippi River afterwards.
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New Orleans is by all accounts a late riser. So we went to the only other place that was open, the countries oldest, continuously running, Catholic cathedral, The Basilica~Cathedral of St. Louis King of France.
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I always love to visit at least one church while vacationing. It is a chance to have a quiet moment, pause, reflect and be thankful.
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The current cathedral was completed in 1793, although it was established as a parish in 1720.
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My pictures do not do this peaceful place justice. 
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This photo of the altar has not been enhanced. The stained glass windows are that blue.
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A side window featuring magnificent stained glass panels.
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Saturday evening had my family and I once again dining at a fabulous restaurant, Sal and Judy’s
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We still weren’t done. Sunday morning had us at Commanders Palace, located in the Garden District, for brunch.
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It is well known for it’s gastronomic goodness and has given rise to such chefs as Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. But as a designer I couldn’t help but be entranced at the entrance. The walls were wrapped in fabric that featured a toile print with a twist~ many of the figures were embroidered.
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In the Garden Room sweet tweets sat perched over the patrons. (Please forgive my photography skills or lack thereof.)
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Although I don’t regularly capture bathroom images, the silver leafed walls were a spectacular site to see.
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A toast to a truly magical meal. 
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The first course was a fresh fruit parfait in a crisp pecan tuile. I was too ashamed to photograph an “after” shot in which my plate was practically wiped clean.
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The entree I selected was Eggs Couchon De Lait~  braised pork over pepper and rosemary biscuits with poached eggs, mushrooms and topped with hollandaise sauce. Sigh, I sometimes dream about this delicious dish.
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For dessert my cousin in love selected the world’s loveliest ice cream cone. 
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Proof that we are indeed related, my cousin selected the chocolate cake.
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Never before have I enjoyed so many delicious, decadent meals. I imagine it may perhaps be the culinary tour of my lifetime. But truly my favorite memory is of my cousin participating in the Second Line Dance twirling her handkerchief.
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I am blessed. Thank you my family.
Laura

28 comments :

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Wowwwwwwwwwww!!! Such FUN times, gorgeous photos and YUMMY food!!! Your trip looks AMAZING! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Thank you for the lovely post filled with such gorgeous photos & gastrointestinal delights. It brought back fond memories of my visit there with my boyfriend (now my husband), and yes, I could eat a whole plate of beinets myself, too!

Bonnie@Creative Decorating said...

I feel like I am there! Beautiful pictures and great food!

LuLu Kellogg said...

Fabulous pictures Laura!!

Wishing you a lovely weekend,
LuLu♥

Home's Where My Heart Is said...

My goodness, I don't know where to start! What a delightful post, thank you!! I have always been taken with New Orleans and would love to visit it someday. The history is so rich and deep rooted.

Thank you again..being able to see real, every day pictures along with the historical and dining spots was a real treat. Not to mention the culinary shots..reason enough to visit! :)

Lisa said...

It looks like you had a ball! We ate at The Court of Two Sisters the last we were in NOLA (in May) and you are so right...it is magical. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip with us!

Connie said...

When we travel back to California to visit our kids and some grandkids I eat my way through 4 states: Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and California, sugar! It isn't pretty, I tell ya!
xoxo,
Connie

Loui♥ said...

Laura!!
simply Fabulous!!
I have so many fond memories of times in New Orleans..but they simply do not compare with the experiences you've shared here during the visit with your sister! 'I feel the same way when my sis and i do things together..
but this was only one of my favorite posts of yours..
all are equally wonderful!!
I love being the guest trailing along!!thanks for having me!
warm sandy hugs!
Loui♥

Linda said...

I would have some difficulties there, as I don't like seafood (except for some fish). But all of the other items look positively delightful!! :)

Glad you're having fun my dear.
Love,
Linda

Shelia said...

Hi Laura! Oh, I do believe you're having a wonderful time! I love New Orleans and you're showcasing it well. I've been to so many of the same places you're visiting! Never been into the church in Jackson Square - it's so beautiful!
Love seeing your pretty face and the light in your eyes! Continue to have fun.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

AshTreeCottage said...

Thanks for a trip down memory lane. I have been to the Big Easy a few times and have enjoyed the same spots. Such a lovely and unique city filled with folks who are passionate about their homes! Looks as though you had a fabulous visit!!

Love,
Susan and Bentley
xxoo

Visual Vamp said...

What a great story about New Orleans dining!
I sadly think you had the last of our beautiful oysters for a good long while.
xo xo

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

Wow, what an awesome trip, Laura. Your pictures were wonderful and that food looks amazing. I gained 5 lbs. just looking at them. Glad you have had a great trip. Love & blessings from NC!

Kit said...

You sure know how to have a good time! I just loved your photos and it makes me want to visit New Orleans. Thanks for the trip! Kit

Carol at Serendipity said...

Wonderful pictures! I have wonderful memories of New Orleans and some of the places you shared. Thank you.

carol

French Basketeer said...

I'm ready for a nap after all that great food! I have never been to New Orleans, but your pics remind me that I really must visit...

BonjourRomance said...

Bonjour Laura,
What a fabulous holiday. Your photos are wonderful, those beignets look delicious. I would have no problem polishing them off either. So glad you had time with your family. Thanks for sharing your sweet memories with us!
Bon week-end,
Mimi

OneCraftyFox said...

Oh, wow! Fabulous! The food looks divine, what a trip :)

OneCraftyFox said...

PS Do you have any updates on the Oprah gig yet?!! :)

fairfieldhousenj.com said...

Laura,

I think I gained ten pounds just reading this post and looking at all the delicious foods pictured. The Court of Two Sisters looks enchanting. I want your cousin as a tour guide when I visit New Orleans.

Your Friend,
Deborah

The Boston Lady said...

What a fun and delicious adventure you had. It's good to see your posts back and I hope your travels this summer brought you some well deserved closure and pleasure. The Maven and I head home from LA next Tuesday. We will be taking the more northern route starting in Vegas. I hate to not stop by Phoenix to say hello, but I also know it's back to school time and that's very busy. We will be better planners the next time we head out west and MAKE time to stop by your beautiful city. Sorry for the long comment - I can never seem to email you properly.

Sixty-Fifth Avenue said...

Thanks for taking us with you on your fun tasty trip! I was there years ago and only for a few years. I have been wanting to go back ever since. Enjoy the weekend.
Londen
xo

Liz said...

FUN! I wanna go! :)

~Liz

Everton Terrace said...

Wonderful! My daughter's favorite place was Commanders Palace and sadly I never went. Looking at your amazing dishes I am so sorry I missed it. Also the church, I walked by 20 times and didn't go in, I usually do go in and look around a church, not sure why I didn't but am glad you shared your images. I was lucky enough to stay at Hotel Monteleone on one of my visits, the lobby took my breath away.

FROGGITY! said...

i am almost in tears, i miss my city already. :( yay to the fact that you went to commander's!!!!! my fave!!! you really did a great job of capturing the essence of the city of new orleans.

FC88 said...

First time here. Great blog and reminded me of the trip I took to New Orlean. Ah, the food and the tour, just wish I am there now. Thanks for the loving photos!

Miss Sandy said...

Eat (wonderful delicacies you showcase here!), pray (gorgeous church!), love (love the post!) - looks similar to the movie!

Tiare said...

This is the first time i come to your blog, what a wonderful post! I got incredibly "homesick" by your pictures! I keep coming back to Nola which has become my very beloved 2nd home.There is no place like New Orleans.